The Gauteng Health Department spends R101 million a year subsidizing 6661 mental health patients in NGOs.
This was revealed today by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in an oral reply to my questions at a sitting today of the Gauteng Legislature.
Ramokgopa said that there was a process of reviewing compliance with all the licenses of these NGOs.
She clarified that this was separate from the unlicensed NGOs to which the Esidimeni patients were transferred which led to more than 100 deaths.
The figures given by Ramokgopa directly contradict the statement by Premier David Makhura in his State of the Province address that “The Executive Council and I would have never approved a plan to outsource mental health, a primary responsibility of the state to care for the vulnerable in society, to NGOs”.
It is in fact a long-standing policy and practice for the Gauteng Health Department to subsidize mental health patients in NGOs.
This has merit provided the NGOs are properly licensed and monitored, unlike the NGOs where the Esidimeni patients were sent.
Makhura has shown inexcusable ignorance of what the health department is doing with regard to mental health patients, which implicates him further in the lack of oversight that led to deaths of the Esidimeni patients.